As I start this post the third M has arrived and will be given its maiden outing anon. M made up for their previous arguments over delivery times by arriving at 1pm for a 4pm appointment. We were of course out. They waited. On pain of death. I am staying well away from the laundry.
I was struck today by a most elegant and appealing piece of artwork, to wit, a pair of Staffordshire dogs. The artist is my good pal Lottie Nevin. The picture is on her FB page but visit her blog anyway for more exquisite paintings. I mentioned in passing that I have a story about Staffordshire dogs. It is not, I am sorry to say, a happy one.
We had a pair of SDs in the family. They belonged to my maternal grandmother, Whence they came I know not but they were always much admired and coveted by everyone. She passed away in 1970 and the dogs along with the house went to my aunt. Quite right too. She knew how popular the dogs were with all the family. Make a will, we urged her. She never did. She did not want people upset by her decisions as to who should receive what. She told me that she would be happy for me to have them but I suspect she told one or two others the same. It didn’t matter.
Many years passed and so eventually did my aunt. No will. After the funeral one of the nephews hot-footed it down to her house where another cousin had the key. In he went and out came the dogs, straight to the back of his car. Where do you think you are taking those? asked another cousin. She promised them to me. The reply came back, I’m the eldest nephew. I get them. There was uproar. He disappeared quickly. The bad feeling still rankles a decade or more on.
I had somehow always felt the dogs would not come to me. I was constantly on the look out for a pair in antique shops. I never found what I wanted. I did however find a smaller pair of what I call Staffordshire pups.
Here they are flanking a piece of Wedgwood I inherited from my parents. They are not valuable but they remind me of dear old Auntie Elsie. There was further skullduggery around her estate. She died unmarried and intestate. We learned that the estate (small as it was) would be divided amongst the offspring of her siblings. So if you were unlucky enough to be one of 3 then you received 1/3 of 1/8 not a simple equal share divided amongst all the nephews and nieces. Nevertheless we all agreed that equal shares was how we wanted it to be and signed up to that effect. Except one. Not the dog snatcher but another villain. To bring matters to a close I gave him half just over half my entitlement so he would sign. I then gave half my entitlement to the cousin who had looked after Auntie E. in her later years. I actually ended up with a deficit and no dogs. Such was life. Sometimes you have to do the right thing.
And so to the trees. Our communal garden has become overgrown. The gardener has been ill. So one of the new owners today took matters into his own hands. The chain saw was out and trees and bushes came down all day. I have very mixed feelings. The view is better than ever. But how long did those trees take to grow? Where will all the bugs and things go? Will the birds desert us? Here they are, the butchers of Sai Kung.
There were two camps this morning. Those for and those against. The organiser took no heed and a 40′ tree came down whilst the ‘against’ faction booed and hissed. The deed is done. The next step is unclear. More carnage? The organiser calls it landscaping. Perhaps I should introduce the wielder of the chainsaw to my errant cousins so they too might be landscaped. I might even get the dogs at the end of it.